Reel World

2001: A Space Odyssey; Up the Down Staircase; The Blackboard Jungle

2001: A Space Odyssey
Blame it on a lack of imagination, but your correspondent has never been particularly over the moon about outer space (as it was once called). On your behalf, however, I ventured all the way to the Oakland hills for a firsthand look at the impressive new Chabot Space & Science Center and, specifically, the Tien MegaDome Science Theater, a 70mm viewing experience in a dome-screen auditorium. I confess I was underwhelmed by the film on display, To Be an Astronaut (1992), a post- Challenger ploy to make kids comfy all over again with NASA's shuttle service. But I do recommend you astronomy buffs keep your eyes peeled for Sept. 15, when a brand-new British film about the inner workings of Mr. Sun, Solar Max, makes its U.S. premiere at Chabot.

Up the Down Staircase
Five of the nine camp classics in Peaches Christ's "Midnight Mass" dragstravaganza at the Bridge sold out, and tickets for the season closer, The Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy (in 3-D), were gone by 8 p.m. To whet your appetite for the next series, check out the piece on Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World in the August issue of Sight and Sound. ... Congrats to experimental filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt (Human Remains, King of the Jews), back in town after a well-reviewed, weeklong retrospective at NYC's Film Forum. ... Amidst all the X Games frenzy, don't overlook the Tube 2000 Action Sports Film Festival Aug. 20-21 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The Sunday night program boasts 14 shorts plus Snow Taxi, a history of snowboarding produced in Stockton (!) that includes women athletes. That's rad, dude.

The Blackboard Jungle
While you were out sunning your privates at Baker Beach, fall started rolling our way like a freight train on a straightaway. The second "Shooting Gallery Series" of six flicks returns to the Galaxy Sept. 1 with the British tale Titanic Town. Tony Barbieri's locally shot One is the fourth film out of the chute, opening Oct. 13. ... Ice Cube will reportedly shoot a werewolf movie here called Stray Dawgs with music video director Gregory Dark at the helm. And the Penelope Cruz vehicle Woman on Top, which shot in S.F. last year, opens Sept. 22. ... Resfest expands to 10, count 'em, 10 cities, although San Francisco still opens the tour (Sept. 7-9 at the Palace of Fine Arts). ... The Roxie's Elliot Lavine curated a nine-week summer film series at the year-old L.A. Film School. The lineup went over so well -- and the Big E enjoyed the commute so darn much -- that he assembled a fall schedule. Is there a Floyd Mutrux connection, you ask? Cinematographer Bill Fraker, who shot Mutrux's Dusty and Sweets McGee, is on the LAFS faculty. Meanwhile, the Roxie booked Live Nude Girls Unite! for a two-week run in October. Weird San Francisco events get scarcer all the time (outside of the Folsom Street Fair and the Upper Haight every Saturday) so this is shaping up as the fall highlight: lesbians and the raincoat crowd under one roof.

 
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